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Science Standards Alignment


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High school science education has evolved in recent years to embrace not only natural and life sciences but also technology and engineering courses that represent careers of the future. Is it time to adapt Massachusetts public university admissions standards to mirror this expanded view of science education? Presented at a meeting of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on December 6, 2011.

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Science Standards Alignment

  1. 1. Board of Higher Education Meeting | December 6, 2011
  2. 3. Science Standards Alignment <ul><li>Appointed by Commissioners </li></ul><ul><li>Charged to consider high-impact strategies to eliminate disparities in college-going rates </li></ul><ul><li>Four key strategies since spring 2011 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Statewide implementation of MassCore </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alignment between admissions and MassCore requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Early assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communications </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recommendations </li></ul><ul><li>College Participation Advisory Group </li></ul>
  3. 4. Science Standards Alignment <ul><li>Current Standards: MassCore, Admissions </li></ul>Subjects MassCore Standards BHE Admissions Standards English 4 years 4 years Math 4 years 4 years (eff. Fall ’16) Science 3 years lab-based science science and tech/engineering 3 years, 2 with lab natural/physical sciences History/ Social Science 3 years 2 years, including 1 course in U.S. History Foreign Language 2 years of the same language 2 years of the same language The Arts 1 year -- Other 5 additional “core” courses in business education, career and technical education, health, technology Additional learning opportunities, e.g., AP, dual enrollment, online, work-based learning, senior project 2 electives from the above subjects or from the Arts & Humanities or Computer Sciences
  4. 5. Science Standards Alignment <ul><li>Change the admissions standard in science to require three years of lab-based science, including the natural and physical sciences and technology/engineering (STE). </li></ul><ul><li>Implement revised science standard in two phases: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phase One </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Effective for those applying to begin university in the 2012-2013 school year </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Require three STE science courses including two with a lab </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Phase Two </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Effective with the high school graduating class of 2016 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Require that all three STE courses be lab-based </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Recommendation </li></ul>
  5. 6. Science Standards Alignment <ul><li>Close Relationship of Science and Technology/Engineering </li></ul><ul><li>“ Exponential advances in knowledge, instrumentation, communication, and computational capabilities have created mind-boggling possibilities, and students are cutting across traditional disciplinary boundaries in unprecedented ways. Indeed, the distinction between science and engineering in some domains has been blurred to extinction.” </li></ul><ul><li>― Charles Vest, 2006 </li></ul>
  6. 8. Science Standards Alignment <ul><li>MA STE Framework since 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>National Research Council (NRC) Framework for New Science Standards (July 2011) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Includes engineering & technology as strand equivalent to natural & physical sciences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incorporates design practices with inquiry practices </li></ul></ul><ul><li>26 states leading development of Next Generation Science Standards based on NRC </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusion of Engineering </li></ul>
  7. 9. Science Standards Alignment <ul><li>Thinking Analytically: Common Practices </li></ul>Adapted from A Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2011) Scientific Inquiry Engineering Design Ask a question Define a problem Obtain, evaluate and communicate technical information Obtain, evaluate and communicate technical information Plan investigations Plan designs and tests Develop and use models Develop and use models Design and conduct tests of experiments or models Design and conduct tests of prototypes or models Analyze and interpret data Analyze and interpret data Use mathematics and computational thinking Use mathematics and computational thinking Construct explanations using evidence Design solutions using evidence Engage in argument using evidence Engage in argument using evidence
  8. 10. Science Standards Alignment <ul><li>Example technology/engineering principles: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Engineering design to create and test technological products </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis and purposeful application of materials and manufacturing processes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Structure and function relationships </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis, modeling and design of technological systems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis of tradeoffs, constraints and optimization </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Reflected in our state learning standards </li></ul><ul><li>Similar principles reflected in NRC/NGSS </li></ul><ul><li>Each About Principles of a Field </li></ul>
  9. 11. Science Standards Alignment <ul><li>What are they about? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic learning – concepts and principles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What do students do? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Laboratory-based – design, model, test, analyze, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Where do these classes reside? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From 9th grade introductory engineering… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… to upper-level electives: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Robotics, Environmental Engineering, Biotechnology </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In science, science & technology/engineering, and/or technology education departments </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Engineering Courses as Science Credit </li></ul>
  10. 12. Science Standards Alignment <ul><li>Requires an aligned system </li></ul><ul><li>For K-12, ESE has aligned policies and requirements to ensure rigor of high school science courses: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Standards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Licensure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Which high schools are taking advantage of: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Designing, implementing, and approving technology/engineering courses as science credit </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Ensuring Academic Rigor </li></ul>
  11. 13. <ul><li>Ensuring Academic Rigor </li></ul>* Approval by school (guidance & department) and/or district (school committee) Science Standards Alignment Biology Chemistry Earth Science Physics Tech/Eng High School Standards Course approval* (for lab-based science credit) Assessment (MCAS end-of-course) NA License & HQT
  12. 14. Science Standards Alignment <ul><li>This adjustment to the state university admissions policy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Will help convey a similar conception of college readiness in science for K-12 and higher education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will recognize high school technology/engineering courses that are designed, offered and taken for science credit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Without this recognition schools and students see this as a large disincentive to offer and take tech/eng courses in high school </li></ul><ul><li>The Last Piece of an Aligned System </li></ul>